“I thought I broke him.”
The lament was uttered in hushed tones over a steaming mug of hot chocolate, a dollop of marshmallow whip floating on the surface. A smudge of the sticky confection dotted the speaker’s nose. Her lavender eyes were brimming with tears.
Her companion couldn’t help but giggle a little into her own warm mug of creamy yumminess.
The two women, Martha Claus and Frau Perchta, dressed in their seasonal red velvet, and white ermine-trimmed coats, were sitting at their usual table at Kafé Kringle for their Tuesday morning kaffeeklatsch.
“I’m a little shocked that you two still, you know… at your ages,” Perchta stifled another snicker. “I mean, the Jolly Ol’ Elf is pushing 500. It’s a wonder he didn’t actually have a heart attack.”
“It really isn’t funny,” Perchta said, patting Martha’s hand. “I’m sorry, and I am glad he’s okay.”
“I should be grateful, though,” Martha took a long sip of cocoa. “It scared him too, enough that he finally went to see a doctor.”
“What did the doc say?“ Perchta nibbled a gingersnap from a platter of cookies on the table.
“What you would expect,” Martha said, waving away the sweets. “High blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, overweight, sleep apnea… all those ailments you would presume someone with his decadent lifestyle would have.”
The women sipped their drinks in silence.
“We don’t know what he’ll do this Christmas Eve.” Martha took two snickerdoodles, dunking one into her mug. “All those children, leaving him candy and cookies, eggnog and milk. He can’t not eat the treats and disappoint all those kids.”
“Well, he can’t not not eat it,” Perchta said, tipping back her cup to get the last of the cocoa dregs. “Couldn’t he just pocket all of it, chuck it over the side of the sleigh mid-flight?”
“I suggested that too,” Martha dunked her second snickerdoodle. “He poo-pooed the idea. Said the kids would know, something about leaving credible crumbs.”
“Could he just eat the carrots the kids leave for the reindeer and give them the treats instead?” Perchta scowled as Martha took the last cookie.
“I asked the same thing, and again with the crumb excuse,” Martha said around a mouthful of pizzelle.
“What about letting him splurge on this one night, and the rest of the year he could diet and exercise?” Perchta waved down their server, pointing to their empty cookie platter and mugs.
“That might work,” Martha said, taking a slice of babka from their refilled platter. “I could speak to Prancer about Santa joining the Reindeer Games.”
“There you go,” Perchta said, raising her cup of cocoa.
Martha clinked her cup to Perchta’s. “Here’s to a new, less Jelly Santa.”